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Vandeek fancied to stamp his class on ‘proper’ Middle Park

Vandeek fancied to stamp his class on ‘proper’ Middle Park Sep 24, 2023

Trainer Ed Crisford believes victory in the in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket this Saturday “would put Vandeek on the board as one of the top two-year-olds in Europe”.

Having secured a first Group One win for Crisford, and his father Simon who he trains Vandeek in partnership with, in the Prix Morny at Deauville last time out, the son of Havana Grey will bid to double his tally of top-level victories in the six-furlong feature race.

And, although Vandeek, who is trained less than two miles from Newmarket’s Rowley Mile at Gainsborough Stables, is likely to come face to face with a number of his old adversaries along with several new rivals, Crisford believes the unbeaten Shaikh Khalid-owned colt can enhance his growing reputation.

Crisford said: “The Middle Park is a proper championship race and if he was able to win a Group One at Newmarket it would be huge - not just for us but for the owner and the horse himself. It would put him on the board as one of the top two-year-olds in Europe. 

“It will be a proper race against proper horses and there will be some new horses coming in that we haven’t faced yet. It is going to be a very good race, but he has gone and won a Group One so he goes there with every chance.

“He is the first Group One winner that me and dad have had, and he just has that natural talent. We’ve had some good older horses come through our hands like Century Dream, but Vandeek has that real quality as a two-year-old and that means he should be an exciting three-year-old.”

Natural ability alone might have got Vandeek through his first two tests, however Crisford believes his latest success in France was all the more impressive given how he had to battle for the win.

He added: “Looking at the Morny it was the championship two-year-old race at the time and a proper Group One - you needed to be on your A game to win it.

“He got caught in a pocket a bit and the French filly Ramatuelle went for it and I thought we might not catch her, but he put his head down and for him to grind her down was a good performance. 

“He is still learning his trade and the Morny was the first time he had to race as up until then he had done it on ability.”